It's Monday morning and that means 'You Ask The Questions' in the Independent. This morning's interviewee is Harriet Harman and her responses are as you'd expect really. For a start she seems to have suddenly accepted and started using Tory arguments on immigration control. Last year I wrote a post that the decison to frame the immigration debate within the impact of public service overstretch was a neat piece of triangulation because it neutralises the charge of racism as the driver for change.
At the time the reaction from Labour and the Government was the typical claims that the Tory policy was not genuine and that secretly those that agreed with the argument were really just racists still. Essentially the reaction was 'I'm not racist but...' type nonsese. When Harman was asked about last weeks announcements on immigration she said, "Britain is a better place because of hard-working immigrants. But there are implications for public services when there are changes in local population."
So there we have it, the Tory argument being made by the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Will anyone charge her with being racist? Of course not because the Left is physically incapable of racism don't you know, they are on the side of angels and it is only people on the Right that can be disingenuous jack booted Nazis if such an argument is deployed. Meanwhile, whilst those on the Left are pure I guess I'm expected to ignore what Harman said about Fidel Castro.
When she was asked whether Castro was 'hero of the left, or dangerous authoritarian dictator' you'd think the answer would be a no-brainer. Even Mark Steel the socialist comedian acknowledged that tourists to Cuba get shown a sanitised view of the country, but what about Harman? She think Castro is a hero, oh yes, but she says it is time for Cuba to 'move on'. That would be move on to a different person called Castro who says the Communist Party will stay in power and he'll consult the original Castro on matters of state.
So Harriet 'I didn't know the cheque was dodgy but I need to pay off my overdraft' Harman has managed to nick Tory arguments and praise a dictator almost simultaneously. That's pretty special.